10 Tutorials to Take Your WordPress Development Skills to the Next Level

by Steven Snell

on November 30, 2009

in Tutorials

As the community of WordPress designers and developers continues to grow, and as new versions of WordPress are released, there are more opportunities to learn different techniques and tricks that you can apply in your own work. In these 10 tutorials you will find strategies that should prove to be very useful in your own theme development.

1. Using Custom Taxonomies to Create a Movie Database

Custom taxonomies in WordPress are similar to tags and categories, but they provide almost endless possibilities. In this tutorial Justin Tadlock shows a practical use for custom taxonomies while working on a movie database website. He shows how to set up custom taxonomies for actor, director, genre, producer, studio, and writer. This will make it easier for visitors to navigate the site as they can click on the actors name and see all of his/her movies. Justin also wrote an introductory post to Custom Taxonomies in WordPress 2.8.

You can also find more about custom taxonomies in Chris Coyier and Jeff Starr’s new book, Digging into WordPress, which I highly recommend.

Using Custom Taxonomies to Create a Movie Database

2. Creating Custom Write Panels in WordPress

Spencer from Function wrote a great tutorial that shows how you can create custom write panels in your WordPress themes. An example use for this would be post thumbnails without a custom field, but there are plenty of other ways that you could use this to improve your themes. Spencer has also written a follow up to the orginal article where he makes some improvements the to code being used.

Creating Custom Write Panels in WordPress

3. Using Action Hooks in Child Themes and Using Filter Hooks in Child Themes

These two posts from Ian Stewart will help you to learn more about using child themes and customizations. Using the information here you can modify parent themes without impairing your ability to upgrade when a new version of the theme is released.

Using Filter Hooks in Child Themes

4. Automatic WordPress Thumbnail Without Custom Field

This tutorial from Pro Blog Design shows how to use DarrenHoyt’s Tim Thumb script and the theme’s functions.php file to automatically grab and re-size the first image used in the post.

Automatic WordPress Thumbnail Without Custom Field

5. Create Custom Single Post Template for Specific Posts or Sections in WordPress

WP Beginner shows how to create a custom single post template for each specific post, specific author, or a specific category. For designers or bloggers who want to use a number of different styles for their posts, this is a good option.

Create Custom Single Post Template for Specific Posts or Sections in WordPress

6. Design a Client Development Site with WordPress MU

Another tutorial from Pro Blog Design. This one shows how WordPress theme designers and developers can save themselves some time and improve the process of developing themes for clients. It uses WordPress MU to be able to work on multiple themes with various clients at the same time.

Design a Client Development Site with WordPress MU

7. How to Make a Control Panel for Your WordPress Theme

Cats Who Code has a nice tutorial that shows how theme designers can create a simple options panel that allows users to make some modifications to the theme. Control panels can make themes more user-friendly and reduce the need to edit theme code. Starscape also has a tutorial for creating a settings page.

How to Make a Control Panel for Your WordPress Theme

8. How to Show Related Posts Without a Plugin

Plugins are commonly used to display a list of related posts at the end of a blog post. This post at WP Recipes shows the code for getting a list of related posts without the use of a plugin.

How to Show Related Posts Without a Plugin

9. Display Thumbnails for Related Posts in WordPress

Still on the subject of related posts, Build Internet has a tutorial for creating a better-looking related post list that included thumbnails. It’s a customization of the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

Display Thumbnails for Related Posts in WordPress

10. How to Integrate Pagination in Your WordPress Theme

Pagination is a little more user-friendly than the default “next” and “previous” links. The WP Page Navi plugin is the most popular option, but this post from Cats Who Code shows how you can integrate it directly into the theme.

How to Integrate Pagination in Your WordPress Theme

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About Steven Snell

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design. Connect with Stephen on google+